Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
NC State University Libraries is committed to racial justice. Statement on the results of the Chauvin trial
Diversity and Inclusion Statement
The NC State University Libraries strives to be an equitable, diverse, and inclusive organization.
Academic libraries aspire to an ideal of democratic access. We believe it is imperative that library work includes a sustained commitment to creating an inclusive atmosphere for diverse patron populations and an increasingly diverse profession. We acknowledge that our collections and spaces have reflected a broader system of inequality, and we commit ourselves to continued learning and improvement, recognizing that the work needed to become more accessible, equitable, diverse, and inclusive must be ongoing.
Our goal is to provide safe and welcoming spaces where members of our community can be their full, authentic selves. We intentionally develop services, offer programs, and foster dialogues to promote understanding and an atmosphere where everyone is valued and respected. The Libraries recognizes that nurturing these values is vital to both enhancing the mission of the university and to creating successful and innovative services, spaces, and collections. We endeavor to develop resources that reflect the academic interests and support the wellness of our diverse community.
In December 2019, the Libraries offered all staff access to DeEtta Jones & Associates' Essentials of Cultural Competence online training program on a basis of voluntary, but strongly encouraged, participation. The five modules in the program cover a range of theoretical content and practical examples related to equity, diversity, and inclusion, as well as opportunities for self-reflective activities. The decision to purchase and offer this training was aligned with the Libraries’ desire to advance our strategic priority to "nurture a diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization that enables welcoming services and spaces, experimentation, aspiration, creativity, and success."
Initially, our contract included access to the course content through May 2020. Due to COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders, the Libraries was able to successfully negotiate an extended access period in April 2020. The new expiration date is December 2020.
Rollout of Online Modules
Because of the time and attention investment required by participants, the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee and partners launched access to the Essentials of Cultural Competence with a few recommendations aimed at helping staff begin and complete the courses. We encouraged staff to set aside 30-60 minutes each week at the outset of the access period to complete the course in a reasonable timeframe while maximizing engagement with the content.
We also asked department heads and other managers to reinforce the priority of the training and to contextualize the importance of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion education in relation to their departmental goals and objectives. Information on departmental completion rates has been provided to department heads on a regular basis, usually monthly, since the beginning of the content access period.
Facilitated Discussion Sessions
To engage interested staff beyond the modules, the Libraries has offered a series of facilitated discussion and activity opportunities that draw on the module content and allow participants to apply the concepts.
Facilitation experts from DJA conducted a Facilitation Skills Institute for 14 Libraries staff, comprised of current and past EDI Committee members. In these sessions, staff developed the tools, activities, and confidence needed to design highly interactive discussion sessions with colleagues across the Libraries.
In-Person Discussion Sessions
The Libraries facilitators worked in small groups to develop three discussion sessions, themed by topics included in specific modules of the Essentials of Cultural Competence. Each of the three sessions have been offered twice in open sign-up sessions that were capped at fifteen people each to maximize engagement. Actual attendance for each sessions has ranged from 8 to 12 participants each.
Additionally, the facilitators invited interested staff to sign up for “learning groups,” which have been formed into cohorts that would attend each of the three discussion sessions together. 20 total staff members have expressed interest in this opportunity and were divided into two learning groups.
Virtual Discussion Sessions
In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic in early 2020, it was necessary to pause the planned in-person discussion sessions after only the first of three was complete. In May 2020, the facilitators reconvened to review and adapt the planned sessions to a virtual, Zoom-based format. Some activities were easily translated, and others needed to be significantly changed or dropped for time.
Example Discussion Session Outline
The example below is an outline of the facilitators' agenda for the first session, themed "Cultural Competence and You."
- Learning Objectives:
- To work towards cultural self-awareness and develop a better understanding of one’s own culture and how it impacts your worldview
- To develop greater understanding of constructivist listening through practice
- To gain a better understanding and appreciation of cultural competence
- Discussion questions:
- Why libraries? Why is the Essentials of Cultural Competence important for us to engage with as an organization?
- Why are YOU here?
- What is culture? How does it impact your worldview?
- What is constructivist listening?
- How will you immediately use constructivist listening to “create space” for a more equitable interaction with a friend or colleague?
- Individual written reflection
- Small and large group discussion
- Constructivist listening practice with a partner using the "mosaic of diversity"
Completion Rates (October 2020)
- Out of 189 staff registered for access to the Essentials of Cultural Competence, 110 staff (58%) have completed* the course.
- 136 staff (72%) are at least halfway through the course content.
- 164 staff (87%) have at least started the course.
*Completion counted as 96% or greater progress. Often, this percentage indicates that the participant simply hasn’t clicked the “complete” button or similar, but has consumed all course content.
The Libraries' ongoing commitment to racial justice
On April 20, a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts for the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. Although Chauvin’s sentencing and possible appeal are yet to come, as well as the August trial of the other three police officers at the scene of the murder, the Chauvin verdict has provided a small measure of justice and catharsis for many in the NC State community, the nation, and the world. During a time of both racial reckoning and racial violence throughout the United States—especially as they relate to law enforcement—the verdict marks an important national moment and, hopefully, a step toward a more equitable future.
Chancellor Woodson’s statement on the verdict acknowledged the profound grief and anxiety that the trial—as well as the constant cycle of shootings and protest—has brought to Black and brown people nationwide. He pointed to a variety of important campus resources for students, faculty, and staff to find counseling and support services. The Chancellor also encouraged people to devote some time to reflect upon the verdict’s moment and the events of the year since Floyd’s death.
Since George Floyd’s murder, other high-profile deaths at the hands of police include Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, and Ma’Khia Bryant. And then, less than 24 hours after the Chauvin verdict was read, police officers fatally shot Andrew Brown right here in North Carolina. We understand the importance of saying these names now, but recognize there are many others not being mentioned here. Violence against Black and brown bodies continues, and the work for justice and equity continues.
The Libraries is committed to being an equitable, diverse, and inclusive organization. The Libraries’ core value of open and equal access to information is an anti-racist value. This value is expressed through our services and resources, our spaces, our hiring and training of staff, and our programs and campus collaborations. The Libraries serves every student, faculty, and staff member at NC State and relishes the responsibility that comes with that charge.
Keeping in mind Chancellor Woodson’s prompt to reflect upon this moment in our collective journey toward racial justice, the Libraries also offers many helpful resources and informative programs and exhibits. Our Special Collections Research Center develops Historical State timelines, some of which focus on underrepresented communities in the university’s history; our staff compiled an anti-racist ebooks reading list freely available to campus and we collaborated with Nubian Message on a Black History Month reading list; we provide research resources on the history of civil rights in the U.S.; and our robust events programming, including a look at student activism on campus and our Making Space series, is now available via recordings on our Think & View page. We also host digital exhibits at the Hunt Library on the Virtual MLK project, the stunning "When MLK and the KKK Met in Raleigh” exhibit, and the racial justice murals installed downtown Raleigh during the African American Cultural Festival last year. Our current exhibit in the Hill Library Exhibit Gallery on the centennial of Technician discusses the history of student media and race on campus including the 1992 founding of Nubian Message, NC State’s Black newspaper.
Amid both national and personal efforts toward equity, the Libraries strives to provide an inclusive atmosphere for the entire NC State community. We are committed to the change that the Chavin verdict gestures toward.
I am so grateful for my Libraries colleagues whose compassion, creativity, and hard work enable us to provide such meaningful resources and content. In particular, I want to thank our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee for ensuring that this work is the foundation of everything we do.
- Greg Raschke, Senior Vice Provost and Director of Libraries